I’ve ordered a couple new pens to review, but didn’t have any to do a review this week. Instead I’ve asked for questions (both serious and silly) to answer this week.
Q: What color inks are staining your fingers right now? -Brian
A: None. I’ve actually been composing on the computer this week rather than by hand. I’ve got a nice avocado colored cartridge in the Poquito that I’ve been using to journal with but have somehow avoided smearing it on my fingers. (Update: by the end of doing the pictures for this blog entry my fingers ended up stained green, red, and brown)
Q: What do you carry when you are traveling?
A: This is always changing. I have Petit1 pens and the Penmanship in my purse right now, but when I go on longer trips I have various pen cases I take with a wide variety of pens and inks. I don’t think I’ve taken the same pens on two different trips.
Q: What does your signature look like?
Q: When did you start using fountain pens and why?
A: I bought some Pilot Varsity disposables back when they were first offered (early 90s?)… and I hated them. It wasn’t until I got discouraged at the available ink colors when I started drafting in non-blue or black colors that I looked at fountain pens again and bought myself a Lamy All-Star… and it’s been an addiction ever since.
Q: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
A: Birch. Duh.
Q: How the hell do I pick ink? Where do I get it? -Lily
A: I pick ink based almost entirely on color, I don’t mind ending up a little smudged with ink and I don’t have good reasons to use waterproof ink so I don’t worry about ink formulas. However, that is entirely a personal preference. I’d strongly recommend if you’re just starting out to get a bunch of samples of the type of inks you’re contemplating from Gouletpens.com. Yes! Samples! They will send you a little vial of ink that will fill your average pen 2-3 times (check out their available samples here) I’ve found that the cheapest place to get standard cartridges is ebay. Proprietary cartridges and full-size bottles of ink can be bought from the same places you buy fountain pens. Amazon, Jetpens, Gouletpens and your well-stocked art departments (such as at a University Bookstore).
Q: How do I refill the pen without enacting what looked like an ink cartridge beat down in my kitchen? -Lily
A: Lots and lots of paper towels. Ok, I’m being a bit facetious, though having paper towels on hand does help. I asked for a picture of the pen mechanism in question.
Ok, now cartridges are filled before they go on to a pen, but cartridges are filled while attached to the pen. I know, it didn’t make sense to me at first either. It wasn’t until I figured out you actually end up wearing a lot less ink this way that I decided to fill all my pens with the converter attached. So, with the converter attached like you see in the picture above you dip the full nib of the pen (the metal tip part) into the ink and then twist the converter to draw up the plunger inside thus creating a vacuum and filling both the pen and the converter. Tap the pen against the inside edge of the ink bottle to get rid of extra ink, and then wipe it on rag or paper towel, screw the body of the pen back on and Bob’s your Uncle.
Q: How many octopuses are milked for ink for a single pen? Or do multiple pens make up a single inking? -@starlightgeek
A: Well, first you have to give the octopus a cookie…
Actually, while you can write with octopus ink, I’d be pretty hesitant to put it into a fountain pen because I’d be afraid it would either cause corrosion or if it dried out in the pen it would be impossible to clean out due to mucus. However, it turns out that the original sepia ink was made from cuttlefish ink mixed with shellac. All hail the power of Google: https://www.tonmo.com/community/pages/octopus-ink/
Q: Does licking the nib actually help? -@starlightgeek
A: I… have no idea. I have honestly never tried. I work in a museum and the number one rule about museums is “THOU SHALT NOT LICK ANYTHING”. So it’s never occurred to me to try and I can’t imagine the ink would taste very good and might have stuff you’d rather not ingest in it.
Q: which is your favorite color ink to use in spells to summon the dead? -@starlightgeek
A: That’s a tie between Noodler’s Red-Black which is a very dark reddish color and Noodler’s Antietam which looks like dried blood.